by Kathryn Erskine


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Caitlin has Asperger's. The world according to her is black and white; anything in between is confusing. Before, when things got confusing, Caitlin went to her older brother, Devon, for help. But Devon was killed in a school shooting, and Caitlin's dad is so distraught that he is just not helpful. Caitlin wants everything to go back to the way things were, but she doesn't know how to do that. Then she comes across the word closure—and she realizes this is what she needs. And in her search for it, Caitlin discovers that the world may not be so black and white after all.

"Powerful."—Publishers Weekly

"A strong and complex character study."—The Horn Book

"Allusions to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the portrayal of a whole community's healing process, and the sharp insights into Caitlyn's behavior enhance this fine addition to the recent group of books with narrators with autism and Asbergers."—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142417751
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/03/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 29,990
Product dimensions: 5.05(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she’d rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading. She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland. The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although . . . how did the headmistress know that it was “the wee redhead” who led the campaign to free the mice from the biology lab? Erskine draws on her childhood—and her second childhood through her children—for her stories. She still loves to travel but nowadays most trips tend to be local, such as basketball and tennis courts, occasional emergency room visits, and the natural food store for very healthy organic chocolate with “life saving” flavonoids.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher


"[A] fine addition to the recent group of books with autistic narrators." --Booklist "A strong and complex character study." --Horn Book "This heartbreaking story is delivered in the straightforward, often funny voice of a fifth-grade girl with Asperger's Syndrome." --Kirkus, starred review "This is...a valuable book." --School Library Journal "Erskine works in powerful imagery throughout." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Customer Reviews

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Mockingbird 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 352 reviews.
WeirdMovieFan More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy from the author, and let me tell you: the buzz about this book is well-deserved. Few, if any, other books about characters with Asperger Syndrome are anywhere near as accurate as this. (I should know; I've gone through much of what Caitlin does.) That alone would be an impressive achievement, but the author doesn't just stop there. Every character is three-dimensional, even the "bully." (I cannot express just how impressed I am with that.) The story is very sad, but not depressing, and manages to wrap itself up pleasingly but not perfectly. This book has a few problems; namely, that the writing takes a little while to get used to (VERY accurate in depicting how actual kids with AS write, though), but fortunately it manages to make sense the whole time and doesn't go off into tangents, like a certain well-known book with an autistic narrator which will not be named... If there is any justice in this world, come January next year this book will be awarded some sort of Newbery recognition. The past few years of Medal and Honor books have been excellent, and this book is worthy of standing among them. I just hope that the cover art, which is a little bland, doesn't scare people away from reading this great story. You simply must buy it when it comes out in April. Teachers, this will be great for you too. (Appropriate for ages 10-up.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being the mother of an Aspie is more than a little challenging, but this book gave me so much hope & comfort. My daughter with Asperger's is 10 years old & so much of the book mirrors our life. I found myself laughing, crying & shaking my head in agreement with the world as Caitlin sees it. Asperger's has a range of symptoms, but the black & white thinking is right on the mark! I feel blessed to have read this book & highly recommend it, for anyone! I feel so comforted & know I am far from alone. Thank you, Ms. Erskine for a wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mockingbird is one of the books that is offered for my state's reading competition. At first I was very skeptical about reading it because of the boring cover art and the fact that I didn' t know what Asperger's Sydrome was. Eventually, I picked it up and boy am I glad that I did! Mockingbird is about a yound girl named Caitlyn, who has Asbergers. She sees thing very differently from the ordinary 5th grader, and this is preventing her from a proper chilhood woth friends and laughter. What makes it worse is her older brother, Devon, was shot and killed. Devon was the only one that really understood Caitlyn and her needs, and without him, she has a very difficult time expressing her thoughts and deciphering everyone else's words and expressions. This story will bring a new understanding to Asbergers in your mind and it really illustrates the life of a veey special girl, with a very special problem. Mockingbird is a quite sad story, not really aomething to read if you want something uplifting, but if you want a touching story about a young girl's struggle to grasp the world ariund her, I would say definitely go for it. I would recommend this story to anyone ages 11 and up. 11 is how old Caitlyn is and it would be difficult to understand this story if you haven't experienced some on what being 11 is like. Also, it could be a little bit difficult for someone younger to read because of the way the story is written. It doesn't follow all of the "rules" of writing. Mockingbird is also a great book for adults and teachers. It would be an easy read to prettymuch any age in range that I suggested, so really it wouldn't hurt to try it out. -Kyrsten, Age 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was so depressing. Its about this girl with assbergers. Shes so confused when her brother dies. I find it so sad, her narration and confusion. I personally coundnt get past the first chapter without sobbing, let alone the entire book. I quit early, which is unlike me. Then again im the type of person that cant get through a horror book without nightmares for weeks. I really FEEL the characters emotions .
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
Mockingbird is a special, little book. After Caitlin's older brother Devon is killed in a school shooting, Caitlin and her father struggle to make it through their grief but they are constantly reminded of Devon and can't seem to find closure. If that isn't difficult enough, Caitlin suffers from Asperger's Syndrome so what she sees is often black or white and nothing in between. What makes this story so special is that it's told from Caitlin's point of view. This means that when she feels overly anxious about loud noises or finds herself unable to read someone's expression, we hear or see it from her perspective. When I first picked this book up, I found it a tad hard to follow. Caitlin's thought patterns are a bit jumbled and it takes a little bit of time to find the rhythm in her words, but when you do, you can't help but feel her pain. She loved her brother. He was the only one in the family that "got" her. He anticipated her needs and without him around, she is forced to reassess how she communicates with others. Here is a quote from page 21 which is where she wants to enter Devon's room even though she's been told not to: I wish I could go in and say Devon, I'm hungry, and he'd grin and his dimples would show and he'd say, You and me both, and we'd go find Dad and order a pizza because it's Thursday and we'd eat warm drippy extra cheese pizza in front of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. The other thing to note, is that all the dialogue is italicized. I got used to it and it did not detract from the story at all. Seeing things from Caitlin's point of view was an incredibly powerful experience. This book is geared towards young adults but I think anyone reading it will be drawn to Caitlin. In one sense she is terribly complex but at the core, she is like any other eleven-year-old. She wants to be understood, she wants to fit in and she yearns for friends like any other kid her age. Mockingbird is a quick but important read and if you're wondering if there is a connection between this book and To Kill a Mockingbird, there is, but you'll have to read the book to find out what it is.
Abby Graham More than 1 year ago
Amazing, touching, inspiring, incredible book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible the problem this girl has and the troubles her and her dad go through because of her brother's death will really touch your heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was sad but made me think how much i love my family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book plus it helps u understand more about aspergers and how people with it think. I used to not like working with kids espessally one with diseases like this but now i think i want to be a spical needs teacher and i thank god that me or my siblings are not having to go through life like that. I love this book and im only on chapter 11 !!!!!
Abigail Cox More than 1 year ago
This was a phenomenal book, the author's style of going in the main character head was a good way of demonstrating the characters feelings and what it would feel like to have Asperger's. I recommendbthis book to people who have had a tragic loss or someone who is familiar with or want to know more about Asperger' s Syndrome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
   In the novel Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine, the main character, Caitlin Smith is an eleven-year old girl diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which makes it difficult for her to socialize and communicate effectively with others. In the exposition, Caitlin and her father are dealing with the aftermath of Devon, her brother’s, death in a random and tragic school shooting in their small Virginia town. Although she misses her brother’s advice and wishes life could be as it was, she is unable to understand her father’s grief- that is, until she reads the word closure in her beloved dictionary. She decides this is what she, her father, and community need, considering the shooting practically plunged her entire town into a muddle of disbelief and devastation. In her journey to find closure, her extremely literal understandings, unprejudiced reactions , and overall open-heartedness and determination help those around her gain renewed viewpoints towards life, as well as help her gain friendships and empathy along the way. The novel, written by Kathryn Erskine, is narrated by Caitlin Smith in first person point of view. Although it can be difficult to distinguish Caitlin’s thoughts from her dialogue, and general way of thinking at times, its unique vantage point is very insightful. It provides reader’s with a good understanding of what it is like to have a disability and almost made her come alive, showing how difficult it is to live with such a disorder. On another note, the composition is based off of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, although it is not so much about violence, as the effects of the calamity. Erskine successfully portrayed Caitlin as not only a girl with Asperger’s, but as a hero by having her pave paths to relationships and healing; not only for herself, but for her entire community. Mockingbird is a riveting story chock-full of loss, healing, and one girl’s journey to discover her capability to have friendship, love, and empathy. It makes readers think critically about what it would be like to walk a mile in Caitlin’s shoes and understand things from her perspective. For this reason it is truly extraordinary and inspiring. I would definitely recommend it to a friend.  Anyone curious about the side-effects of Asperger’s would be truly fascinated and absorbed into the novel. It would be best suited for teens and tweens between the ages of 10 and 15, but would most likely be enjoyed by people of any age looking for a compassionate story that makes your heart twinkle like the stars above. Ultimately, Erskine effectively composed a book with thoughtful characters and an eccentric story, that really hits home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great, interesting, sweet, and sad all at once. I really could empathize with the characters
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Caitlin's brother, Devon, was one of three victims killed by a school shooter. His death leaves Caitlin and their father alone to pick up the pieces and make some sense of what is left. Being able to mourn and share their grief is complicated by the fact that eleven-year-old Caitlin has a condition known as Asperger's syndrome. She does not recognize most social clues that moderate normal behavior. Unable to interpret simple facial expressions leaves her clueless about how to interact with others. Devon has always bridged the gap between his little sister and the rest of the world, but he is no longer there to help. Caitlin gets some help from Mrs. Brook, a counselor at her school. They spend time every day working on social skills, manners, and what Mrs. Brook calls empathy. Caitlin's very literal approach to situations makes her a target for taunting and teasing that only aggravates the problem. Now, learning to grieve her brother's death is also an important part of her daily therapy. One thing Devon left behind might prove useful as Caitlin and her father attempt to recover and move on. Devon's Eagle Scout project sits unfinished in their living room as a reminder that he will never return to complete it. When Caitlin gets the idea that she and her father could finish the project as a way to find closure, it seems like an impossible task. But with determination and some breakthroughs at school, maybe they can achieve the impossible. MOCKINGBIRD is a heartwarming story of loss and recovery. The addition of Caitlin's struggle with Asperger's adds an amazing element to the tale. Kathryn Erskine recreates the world as seen through Caitlin's eyes in such a realistic and believable way; readers will be drawn in and inspired by this little girl's courage and strength. This book is truly a loving work of art.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!! It is a little confusing in the first few chapters. Its pretty much about this little girl that lost somthing very importan and how she gets throght life without it. This little girl also has mental problems that make it even harder for her to get throgh her problems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good book. It has sad parts but it was really good. Its intresting because it goes through the stages of healing her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absoulutely toouching, and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book!!! So good to do reports on!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and loved it is not a true story but is based on things that are happing in public schools.I recommend this book to people who can take on alittle disturbance(sorry of I made some spelling errors)I myself thought some parts were really gross and depressing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This looks really good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. It showed what it was like to have someone very special in your life get killed for a bad reason. I didnt cry but it would of if i wasnt in public. If you dont know if you want to read this book you should. I was for me a quick read, and a just a great book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a very awesome book I wish they made a sequal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is soo good i even had dreams from it! I am still reading this phenominaly written book but it still brings me tears in my eyes!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is the best book ive ever read but it is very sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MUST READ!!!!! After you read this book read: So. B. It. Yes that is the title. So. B. It. is also a MUST READ!!!!! look it up on your Nook and you can see what it is about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absoulutley amazing. It is about a charactor who has aspegers disease. She is really confused with life. It makes you understand what these people go through with this disease and what happens during tragedys. At first it was sad but it endded really well. Very well written.